7 facts that will make you a burger expert

Posts, original burgers, originals: Do you know everything about burgers? Here you will find perfect expert knowledge at a glance.

When it comes to burgers, most people still think of fast food. But the image has changed. Many cities have trendy restaurants that offer every imaginable version of the meatloaf.

Whether it’s a quick hand or a great cook: you’ve probably had a burger before. But did you also know the following facts?

1. Do hamburgers really come from Hamburg?

The answer is yes. The great history of the hamburger – the best of the original burger – is the result of many small stories. If you put them together, you can think of the hamburger as a kind of German-American joint product.

But if you’re looking for the snack’s origins, you’ll come across the Hanseatic City of Germany. The so-called hot round is still served today in Northern Germany: fried slices are pushed into the center of a bun and doused with sauce.

Theory: In the 19th century, immigrants who left Hamburg for America aboard an ocean liner brought the recipe to the United States. Another fragment of the search for the origins of the burger can be found there: an alleged immigrant recipe for “Hamburger Steak” from 1842.

These historical mysteries still exist:

  • Two states claim to have legalized the invention of the burger: the burger was invented in 1885 in Wisconsin or in 1891 in Oklahoma.
  • Instead of the German city of Hanseatic City, the name may also come from Hamburg, New York, USA, which was once founded by German immigrants. In 1885, brothers Frank and Charles Manchester from Ohio sold beef and other ingredients sandwiches at the county fair.
  • Louis Lunch is a hamburger restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut. The previous owner was Louis Lassen, who was born in Germany. He is said to have invented the hamburger in a snack bar in the 1900s when a traveler was in a hurry. The restaurant still calls itself “The Home of the Hamburger Sandwich.”
  • In 1904, the World’s Fair was held in St. Louis, Missouri. There, the American newspaper “New York Tribune” reported, Fletcher Davis sold two halves of a bun made of ground steak and mustard, cucumber and onion patties.
Whether it’s a round slice or a hamburger sandwich: the burger has a history. © Christine Klose/dpa-tmn

The history of the hamburger’s origin stimulates creativity as much as the hamburger itself: Anyone can assemble their own version from many small components.

At least one thing is clear: the name has nothing to do with the English word “ham”. Maybe that’s why the prefix was dropped at some point. Today it is simply called a burger.

2. What was in the original burger?

Here again the question arises: what is the original? At least two of the first hamburgers looked like this:

  • According to a newspaper report, Fletcher Davis served a new dish called the “hamburger” at the 1904 World’s Fair with beef, mustard, pickles and onions.
  • Louie Lunch, a New Haven hamburger restaurant, still makes it clear today: only a few ingredients are served to bring out the “real taste of the meat.” The classic Louis hamburger is therefore a meat patty between two slices of toast. Only cheese, onions and tomatoes are added – but no sauce.

A result: The original burger was definitely designed to be manageable. Although there are many unusual variations today, the following are still used: the heart of the burger is the patty, ie. a piece of meat. Or an appropriate vegetable substitute.

3. Is she called Patty?

The cutting disc does not yet have a clear grammatical gender. You can find “The” and “The” Patty. Duden editors confirmed this when asked – you can’t even search for “Patty” in Duden published in 2020.

How do experts solve it? In his book The Burger Formula, burger expert Martin Kintrup calls the disc a patty. And Jan Pflueger, owner of Hamburg’s Brooklyn Burger Bar, also talks about the neutral patty. So, not masculine, but neutral.

“The fact that this word is still new in German can also be seen from the fact that the plural is often made with the English -ies, i.e. pies,” says Ilka Pešček of the Duden editorial office. In most cases, as in German, the s is simply not added (“Pattis”) when the plural is formed.

Meat patties are being fried in a pan
“Patty” does not yet have a unique grammatical article. © Christine Klose/dpa-tmn

4. What cheese goes into a burger?

“As always, it’s a matter of taste,” says Jan Pfluger. “Our method is to put cheese on top of a baked pie. Of course, there are quick-melting types of cheese.” These types are common:

  • Cheddar is a classic.
  • Edam, Emmental, Gouda and Gruyère also work.

Ultimately, it makes cheese that tastes good. Some types of cheese, such as Parmesan, take longer to melt.

Different types of cheese are lying on the board
Instant cheeses work best. © Christine Klose/dpa-tmn

Tip: Fry the patty on one side and then, after flipping it down, place a slice of cheese on top and let it melt while you fry it. If you have a pan lid or a metal cooking bell, you can also cover the pan. “The heat builds up there and the cheese melts really well,” says Martin Kintrup.

5. Are burgers automatically fast food?

Quick to make and quick to consume: this is what characterizes fast food. A piece of meat is pushed between the two halves of the bun, and that’s it – the hamburger has become a symbol of fast food chains, the same taste is guaranteed at every branch.

But at the same time, high-class gastronomy also found the burger for itself. The result is a variety of creations that can be enjoyed in a stylish environment without standing up.

“From-scratch burgers are like slow food and special occasions,” says Martin Kintrup. For a food stylist, a burger is even an event meal – both in terms of preparation and consumption.

There is no need for excess oil, salt, or sugar. It depends on what’s inside. Five ways to make a burger healthier:

  • for example, high-quality beef from organic farmers
  • A plant-based patty option made from vegetables and whole grains
  • fresh toppings like lettuce and vegetable slices
  • homemade wheat buns
  • A light sauce without a lot of fat

Tip: “Take only half the mayonnaise and mix it with as much yogurt,” advises cookbook author Kintrup.

6. Who holds the record for eating burgers?

From 2004 to 2009, the American fast food chain Krystal hosted meals called Krystal Square Off. In this official World Hamburger Championship held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, participants had to eat as much of the chain’s flagship product in eight minutes as possible: the Crystal Hamburger, a square burger. Fun fact: pickles have been removed from burgers due to choking hazards.

This record: In 2007, competitive eater Joey Chestnut ate 103 Krystal hamburgers in eight minutes. He was in his mid-twenties at the time and didn’t get older in the years that followed.

Tip: Watch Krystal Square Offs videos on YouTube as competitors eat hamburger after hamburger in Chattanooga.

7. What is the biggest hamburger in the world?

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the largest hamburger was made on July 9, 2017 by Germans Wolfgang Lieb, Tom Reicheneder, Rudi Dietl, Josef Zellner, Hans Maurer and Christian Dischinger using a crane in Pilsting, Lower Bavaria.

  • The weight of the giant burger was 1164.2 kilograms.
  • The couch-sized bun contained three meat patties, tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions, cheese and sauce.
  • Mega patties were baked for more than eight hours.



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